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The Happy Learner1
There’s a possibility that by the end of our conversation tonight, you will wonder why, since the subject is “The Happy Learner,” you feel so unhappy. You’re likely to say, “Gee, I could have watched the Academy Awards and enjoyed myself!”
But I’ll tell you something: The section we’re reading tonight is extremely important. And its importance could escape you, because generally speaking, it sounds rather pleasant. But it requires taking a deeper look at what it’s meaning. It requires taking a deeper look so that actual transformation within you can occur or can, at the least, be triggered—initiated.
Now, it says …
The Holy Spirit needs a happy learner, in whom His mission can be happily accomplished.
And I’m sure all of you would say, “Wow, well that’s me! I’m here, I want to learn. Absolutely. I’m eager! And then the next sentence says …
You who are steadfastly devoted to misery must first recognize that you ARE miserable and NOT happy.
Well, so much for the happy learner that was all ready.
Again, “Gee whiz, now you’re telling me that I’m not happy and that I’m in misery? Why do you cast my being in such a negative light?”
Well, it’s very important. And I and the Holy Spirit have the same task. I’m going to continue here …
The Holy Spirit cannot teach without this contrast…
… why? It doesn’t say “why,” I’m saying “why.” And it continues …
… for you believe that misery IS happiness.
“Well, what do you mean I believe misery is happiness?”
Well, let me ask you this: Don’t you enjoy having the opportunity every day to figure things out? Don’t you enjoy the prospect of problem-solving and coming up with solutions that make positive differences in your community or in your marriage or your family or whatever? Don’t you take great pleasure in doing things successfully all by yourself?
You take pleasure in that. In fact, you’ve been taught to take pleasure in that. You’ve been taught that it’s a reason for pride. You’ve taught that it’s a reason for self-respect. And you’ve taught that engaging in it is a source of respect for you from others.
You who are steadfastly devoted to misery must first recognize that you ARE miserable and NOT happy. The Holy Spirit cannot teach without this contrast, for you believe that misery IS happiness.
You believe that isolation, that being a self-starter, that being an authorizer is the reason for happiness. It is an act of happiness. You are convinced that being an orphan successfully is cause for joy, and you reach for the carrot every day. And like the carrot that dangles in front of the horse or the donkey or whatever fool will try to get it; your goal hangs in front of you unreachable. But because you’re getting the joy—the hit of going for it—you don’t recognize that you’re attempting something impossible. And therefore, the joy that you expect to attain will never come. And the self-respect from persistently going after the carrot will ultimately, once you’ve come to your senses, prove to you that you have been a fool—not someone worthy of respect.
And if this doesn’t become clear to you, you will continue to go for the carrot. You will continue to strive to become something in your own right without acknowledging a source other than yourself. That is the source of the human condition. That habit is the cause of misery. It is that which absolutely inhibits your having the experience that it’s your Birthright to be experiencing. And although you have conditioned yourself to get hits—to gather kudos, to get gold stars—for your persistence and the reliability of your dependability at continuing to strive for the goal, the point is that you will have to arrive at a point where you abandon what is foolish because Someone has illustrated to you that it does not work. And therefore, to persist in it is foolish and that the conditioning that has allowed you to fool yourself into feeling good about yourself is not only undependable, it is a case of complete mis-direction, where you have been told that something can happen that can’t happen; that something will happen that can’t happen.
And you have been fooled into going for the goal. And no matter how foolish it makes you feel or look to yourself when you take a look at the truth, you must be willing to take a look at the truth so that you will stop; so that you will understand that you’re not happy; so that you will know the difference between happiness and unhappiness; happiness and misery.
The Holy Spirit cannot teach without this contrast, for you believe that misery IS happiness. This has so confused you that you have undertaken to learn to do what you can NEVER do, believing that UNLESS you learn it, you will not be happy.
That’s why you keep going for the carrot. You think you are learning something. You think you are learning how to get the carrot. You think you’re learning how to get the prize. If you realized that there was no learning awaiting you, you would stop dead in your tracks like an intelligent horse or an intelligent donkey, and you wouldn’t take another step trying to get something you couldn’t get. And you would no longer justify it by saying, “If I do this, I am becoming respectable!”
You do not realize that the foundation on which this most peculiar learning goal depends means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
You may have been taught to be a self-made man or a self-made woman. If you’re a modern woman you’ve taken on that motto—you have a right to it as much as a man does—and you’ve been fooled by it as much as men have. You’ve been taught to be a self-made man or a self-made woman.
Such an idea is absolutely meaningless. But you have filled it with meaning. And you have wrapped it around you. You’ve used it to gird up your loins. You’ve stuck it up your back-bone and you have plowed forward with enthusiasm—with gusto—and with pride and self-satisfaction.
But again …
You do not realize that the foundation on which this most peculiar learning goal depends means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It DOES make sense to you.
Everything I’ve been talking about does make sense to you. In fact, it makes so much sense to you that at times you’re likely to doubt if I’m telling you the truth. You are likely to doubt that what I’m telling you is in any way practical or helpful. Some of you may even take it as proof that A Course In Miracles is nothing but b.s. and shouldn’t be paid attention to. That’s how much sense it makes to you.
Have faith in nothing, and you will FIND the “treasure” that you sought.
You will value nothing. Whatever of nothing that you’ve made a treasure of, you will value as though it were something.
Have faith in nothing, and you will FIND the “treasure” that you sought. Yet you will add another burden to your mind, already burdened or you would have not sought another.
In other words, you’ve been going along—you’ve been going after the carrot. You’ve been going after the carrot for quite awhile. But you’re still full of energy and still full of willingness to go for it and now somebody shows you another carrot. “Oh, well I’m going to go after that carrot too! I mean I might as well not only get my Masters I might as well get my PH.d so I can really be important in the world and I can really be recognized as somebody intelligent and worth listening to. And because I’m recognized as intelligent and worth listening to, I will be able to reach more people with real help that I am able to give because I’m so intelligent.” You see. [sighs]
… you will add another burden to your mind, ALREADY burdened or you would have not sought another.
You see, you’ve already been burdened by a task you can’t succeed at. And the fact that you are going after the carrot in the first place means you’re not at peace are you? In other words, you, as the wonderful stallion or mare that you are, can’t just stand there in the pasture in the fullness of being, perfectly at peace. “No-no-no, Give me a carrot to chase!” You see? And then, “Give me a second carrot to chase! Chasing the carrot makes me happy. Getting the carrot will make me happier. But What? Wait a minute…just stand in the pasture and just eat the green succulent grass without a carrot chase? You’re telling me that that would be enough—that I can feel my peace and I can feel fulfillment doing what? Nothing? [chuckling] When I could be doing something like chasing a carrot?” You see, you don’t see that chasing the carrot is what constitutes doing nothing. And you are so confused, that being in your peace where the fullness of Being can be experienced, isn’t nothing. That to you, in your confusion, looks like nothing.
Again, going back near the beginning …
You who are steadfastly devoted to misery …
[snaps fingers] Gotta get the carrot, gotta get the carrot, gotta get the carrot!
You who are steadfastly devoted to misery must first recognize that you ARE miserable and NOT happy.
Have faith in nothing and you will FIND the “treasure” that you sought. Yet you will add another burden to our mind, ALREADY burdened or you would not have sought another. You will believe that nothing is OF VALUE, and WILL value it. A little piece of glass, a speck of dust, a body or a war are one to you. For if you value ONE thing made of nothing, you HAVE believed that nothing can be precious, and that you can learn how to make the untrue TRUE.
You see, there’s the crux of it there. You think that you can learn how to make the untrue TRUE.
If the Holy Spirit is going to reveal truth to you so that you are not confused, so that enlightenment can occur, you must arrive at a point where you’re willing to at least consider the fact that you have been engaged in trying to make the untrue, true. And you think you have accomplished it and therefore, you are in a state of insanity. Your mind is not clear and you are experiencing something you would not embrace for a moment in your right Mind; in other words, if you weren’t confused.
The Holy Spirit…
… and again, remember, the Holy Spirit is nothing more than your right Mind, or your right Mind is nothing less than the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, SEEING where you are but KNOWING you are elsewhere, begins His lesson in …
… simplicity with the fundamental teaching that TRUTH IS TRUE. This is the hardest lesson you will ever learn, and in the end the ONLY one.
Why do you think you listen to yourself all day long instead of the Holy Spirit? Because you trust yourself. And you trust what you think and you trust your definition of truth. You trust your definition of something. And you trust your definition of nothing. You trust that going after the carrot is something. And you trust that being in your peace and being whole in the middle of a wonderful pasture with luscious green grass is nothing—holds nothing of ultimate value for you.
Simplicity is very difficult for twisted minds.
Oh, I know, I’m saying you have twisted minds again, you know—casting you in this bad light again. No. If confusion exists though, it deserves to be lifted. You deserve to be cleansed of it. You deserve to have an experience of clarity rather than confusion.
So, simplicity; the simplicity that truth is true; the simplicity that something is something and nothing is nothing and never the twain shall meet.
Simplicity is very difficult for twisted minds. Consider all the distortions you have made of nothing; all the strange forms and feelings and actions and reactions that you have woven out of it.
“Why you know what? The mare over at the next farm said turnips are better than carrots.” Boy, wouldn’t you give your right hoof for a turnip now? Aren’t you insulted that all you’re being offered are carrots? See? You see how convoluted insanity can become? How silly it can be and how such silliness can arouse emotions of disappointment—of dislike for the one who is presenting you with carrots, indignant that your owner doesn’t respect you enough to give you something as good as turnips like the owner two farms down? You see?
Consider all the distortions you have made of nothing; all the strange forms and feelings and actions and reactions that you have woven out of it. Nothing is so alien to you as the simple truth, and nothing are you less inclined to listen to.
What do you mean I’m not willing to listen to it? What do you mean I’m less inclined to listen to it?
Well let me ask you this: Just think back on today or you can think about any other day you want, but just think back on today. I want you to pay attention to what was going on in your mind—in your mind, not between you and others. What was going on in your mind? Was it a monologue or was it a dialogue? If it was a monologue, then you are less inclined to listen for the truth. If it was a monologue, you were self-satisfied; you were satisfied with your way of looking at things—your way of determining the meaning of what was going on.
Even if you were distressed, you enjoyed mulling over in your mind the details—the sordid or ugly details that justified your being upset. And you kept yourself upset with some satisfaction by mulling these thoughts over in your mind. And such activity certainly was private. Because if you had joined with the only One, or Ones that you could have joined with, they would have been Awake and would have clarified things for you so that you didn’t use your mind in the same way.
It certainly would have deprived you of the satisfaction of engaging in self-righteous indignation. It would have deprived you of the twisted meandering ideas that constituted of making something out of nothing. And in the joining, it would have done away with the apparent presence of an independent, autonomous mind—namely yours, namely you—and would have placed you in a context of unity—togetherness, not isolation. It would have moved you to gear number one, first gear, which as we’ve been discussing, is the undoing of the human condition.
Nothing is so alien to you as the simple truth, and nothing are you less inclined to listen to.
Oh-h, you know, as you think back over today, maybe you did once or twice ask the Holy Spirit a question or ask your Guide, “What do I need to know here?” But then very quickly, it became a monologue again. You were only inclined to listen momentarily. But for most of the day you were quite satisfied with doing your own thinking; coming to your own conclusions.
Now, I’m going to be very blunt here. When you’re thinking by yourself, when you are thinking period, you are engaged in nothing. And when you are thinking for the purpose of coming to conclusions which will provide you with a basis for acting in the world, you are intending to be in the world in a way that is unintelligent and will be destructive.
You must understand that when you operate in second gear, which automatically brings third gear into play, you are doing nothing but creating illusions, promoting illusions, and attempting to affect your brothers and sisters to join you in doing nothing while thinking that they are doing something. In other words, you are promoting insanity. You are promoting the human condition which, by virtue of your studying the Course, you say you want to wake up from. And what this is saying here, is that you’re not going to wake up unless you’re willing to become a happy learner. And you’re not going to become a happy learner unless you learn the difference between happiness and misery. And that means until you learn that, as long as you are thinking by yourself, you are in misery believing that it is happiness and you are lost. And everything you do promotes your lostness and confirms the lostness of others to them as long as they’re on the same wavelength you are.
What you’re doing is so unconstructive that you must see it for what it is. Because until you see how detrimental it is, you will not lower the value you are placing upon it. Until you reduce the value you’re placing upon your way of being at this moment, you will not have an experience of the distinction between happiness and misery. And you will not be able to make an intelligent choice. You won’t make an intelligent choice because at the moment you’re quite satisfied with the status quo.
And you think that waking up must mean something other than what I’m talking about. Something that won’t require you to have dialogue going on in your mind instead of a monologue. That it will mean something other than no longer getting joy from the attempt to be an autonomous authorizer of good in your world; something other than arriving at a point where you can stand alone in your own right being recognized for the worthwhile one that you are. You think that it’s got to mean something. You think that’s what it’s got to mean. I’m telling you that is not what it’s got to mean.
Now, it might seem to you that I am saying, that at the moment you have no justification for being happy, because you aren’t in touch with your guide yet, so therefore you’re lost. Well, you could adopt that attitude. It’s a case of the whiner horse. You know, “Well, I don’t even have a pasture with green grass to stand in. All I have is a smelly, dirty stall. Oh me, I’m lost! What you’re telling me simply condemns me to perdition, to an ending lack of fulfillment.”
Hey, if you like the hit that gives you, go ahead, adopt that attitude. Hey, if you are not in touch with your guide, if you have not had the experience of connecting with the Holy Spirit—that which is nothing more than your right Mind—then strive a little harder. In other words, instead of persisting at what won’t work, instead of persisting at making nothing something, persist at making something, something, persist at giving your attention to that which is Real.
I’ll tell you one thing: If you reduced the amount of thinking by fifty percent that you do on any given day, and just managed to be in the quiet, in the silence, in the peace, you would begin to recognize that the silence wasn’t just the absence of anything, but that it is the presence of peace, that the emptiness is full of something quite Holy. And your life would have incredible changes occurring in it.
Now, again …
Nothing is so alien to you as the simple truth, and nothing are you less inclined to listen to. The contrast between what is true and what is not is PERFECTLY apparent, yet you do not see it.
The simple and the obvious are not apparent to those who would make palaces and royal robes of nothing, believing they are kings with golden crowns because of them. All this the Holy Spirit sees, and teaches, simply, that all this is not true.
The Holy Spirit sees what you believe and knows the truth simultaneously. And because the Holy Spirit, that which is nothing more than your right Mind, sees what you believe and knows the truth, it perfectly and artfully provides the distinction between the two to you. So that the gap between what is true and what is not true, between what you believe and what is true, can be closed and you can shift your devotion to what is true. That is the Holy Spirit’s function. The function of your right Mind is to bring you back into the experience of your right Mind.
Again, and I’m repeating a lot tonight because these sentences are not alarming in any way and they don’t even in themselves sound significantly important and yet they are key factors.
The simple and the obvious are not apparent to those who would make palaces and royal robes of nothing,
[Chuckling] Those who would create an image of worth by virtue of the persistence with which he chases after the carrot and never gives up.
The simple and the obvious are not apparent to those who would make palaces and royal robes of nothing, believing they are kings with golden crowns because of them. All this the Holy Spirit sees, and teaches, simply, that all this is not true. To these unhappy learners who would teach themselves nothing and delude themselves into believing that it is NOT nothing, the Holy Spirit …
… that which is nothing more than your right Mind …
… says, with steadfast quietness:
“The truth is true. Nothing else matters, nothing else is real, and everything beside it is not there. Let Me make the one distinction for you which you cannot make but need to LEARN. Your faith in nothing IS deceiving you. Offer your faith to Me, and I will place it gently in the holy place where it belongs. You will find NO deception there, but only the simple truth. And you will love it because you will UNDERSTAND it.”
What the Holy Spirit has invited you to do there is to engage in ongoing, unending dialog with It, which will mean that monologues will be a thing of the past in your mind. You see, it’s easy to think when dealing with spiritual or religious subjects or theories, that the world is what it is, but with some religious or spiritual teaching, you can experience a better life without fundamentally changing anything, because of course, the way things are is the way things are.
That very mindset, that very belief structure embraced by anyone and believed and committed to, will constitute an absolute block to the experience of anything different from what it says, and will lock you into a human condition; an experience of misery which you will be able to find meaning in and ultimately be able to value. And in so doing, you will lock yourself into suffering and you will do absolutely nothing to relieve your brothers and sisters of the same suffering they’re experiencing.
Is it your goal to be such a presence? Is it your goal to actually be an agent for maintaining the status-quo and then devoting your life to finding ways to make the status-quo meaningful? Is that your goal? No, of course, it’s not your goal, but that is what you’re engaged in.
Like you, the Holy Spirit did not MAKE truth. Like God, He KNOWS it to be true. He brings the light of truth into the darkness, and LETS it shine on you.
What does that mean? It means that, that which is nothing more than your right Mind, brings your right Mindedness to your confused mindedness and lets It shine on you. Your right Mind shines Its integrity, Its holiness, and Its inseparableness from God on you, illuminating to you what you really Are.
That’s what the Holy Spirit does. But it escapes your attention when you’re engaged in monologues. When you’re not engaged in monologues because you’ve had enough common sense to see that what you’re doing isn’t working but isn’t worth feeling guilty for, so that you are totally immobilized, you happily engage in dialog.
And as it…
… the Holy Spirit …
… shines your brothers see it, and realizing that this light is not what you have made, they see in you more than YOU see.
They see in you more than you see in you.
They will be happy learners of the lesson which this light brings to them because it teaches them RELEASE from nothing and from all the works of nothing. The heavy chains which seem to bind them unto despair they do not see as nothing until you bring the light to them. And THEN they see the chains have disappeared, and so they MUST have been nothing. And YOU will see it with them. BECAUSE you taught them gladness and release, they will become YOUR teachers in release and gladness.
When you find your brother worthy of your abandoning your knee-jerk responses to them and definitions, and you do the two-step and you say, “Father, what is the more of what You’re Being right here where my brother is than what I’m seeing?” And you are infilled with the experience of the truth, the simple truth about them. It becomes spontaneously communicated.
And we’ve discussed the fact that what you give you get to keep. Why? Because the one you gave it to gives it back in praise and acknowledgement of the more of what God is being right where you are, than what they were seeing.
When you teach anyone that truth is true, you learn it WITH him. And so you learn that what seemed hardest was the easiest. Learn to be happy learners. You will NEVER learn how to make nothing everything. Yet see that this HAS been your goal, and RECOGNIZE how foolish it has been.
You see. You recognize how foolish it has been but you don’t let the foolishness of it become a judgment against you that immobilizes you and inhibits you from being glad it is undone.
It says here:
You will NEVER learn how to make nothing everything. Yet see that this HAS been your goal, and RECOGNIZE how foolish it has been. Be glad it is undone…
… you see. Don’t get stuck in recognizing how foolish it has been.
Be glad it is undone, for when you look at it in simple honesty, it IS undone. We said before, “Be not content with nothing,” for you HAVE believed that nothing could content you. IT IS NOT SO.
The carrot will never satisfy, because the carrot will never be reached! The goal of reaching it will never be achieved.
If you would be a happy learner, you must give EVERYTHING that you have learned over to the Holy Spirit to be UNLEARNED for you.
That means that all of the satisfaction you get from mulling over your difficult situation or your difficult relationship; and all of the self-righteousness that you get to pleasure in while you’re doing this, it means that all this you must turn over to the Holy Spirit—all of your monologue you must set aside by giving it to the Holy Spirit.
What does that mean? It means, acknowledging that you’re not going to engage in this anymore. You’re going to give it to the Holy Spirit and let the Holy Spirit share with you what is real about it or what isn’t real about it. And you will listen for what the Holy Spirit wishes to speak about, which probably won’t be about what you turned over to Him.
If you would be a happy learner, you must give EVERYTHING that you have learned …
… as in unhappy learner, because you were doing all of the learning by yourself …
… over to the Holy Spirit to be UNLEARNED for you. And then begin to learn the joyous lessons that come quickly on the firm foundation that truth is true. For what is builded there IS true, and BUILT on truth. The universe of learning will open up before you in all its gracious simplicity. With truth before you, you will not look back.
Now, what I want to be indelibly clear tonight is that when you are thinking, when a monologue is going on in your mind, nothing is happening, except that a belief that something is happening is growing—growing in a deluded mind, growing in a mind that doesn’t actually exist. And when the Presence of God, namely You, engages in doing nothing, believing that something is being done, it is either a cosmic comedy or a cosmic tragedy—neither of which are Real, however.
How can something that is the Movement of God be the absence of the Movement of God? How can you make something out of nothing; by trying to be nothing, by trying to be the absence of Presence, by trying to be that which is not the Presence of God? That’s what I mean. When you’re trying to be the presence of something on your own and you are trying to be the absence of the Presence of God, you’re trying to be the absence of Presence. Absolute nonsense! As long as you get pleasure out of it, as long as you have found ways to believe that something of value is going on, you will not abandon it.
So, what needs to be utterly clear is, that when you have a monologue going on in your mind, when you are connecting with nothing, when you have a monologue going on in your mind, you are creating the experience of misery. You are creating the experience of misery, no matter how much value you think you are getting from it, no matter how much supposed pleasure you are getting from it. And this misery that you are creating, you are creating for yourself and for everyone you are influencing. Doing this will keep you bound!
At the moment you are not happy learners—Occasionally you are, but not with commitment, not fully. And it’s important for you to become happy learners. And you will become happy learners the moment it becomes clear to you that what you are engaged in, all by yourself, is misery and has apparent effects which you do not want to be responsible for.
I am putting it in these terms so that you might have justification for making commitment to be a happy learner, to stop letting monologues occupy your mind. And to start saying, “Father (or Holy Spirit) what do I need to know here?” And then listen to the very best of your ability. If you do not hear and action is required, do the very best you can, but don’t abandon the questioning and the listening. Don’t abandon the persistence in asking for the Holy Spirit’s help, because it is the function of that which is nothing more than your right Mind, to close the gap between what you believe and what is true, so that you might no longer suffer from ignorance; from believing what isn’t true, and promoting it as valuable and meaningful.
The universe of learning will open up before you in all its gracious simplicity. With truth before you, you will not look back.
In order to become a happy learner you must become disillusioned. You must be willing to abandon illusions. You must be willing to allow illusions to be taken away from you by virtue of the Holy Spirit disclosing the difference between what is Real and what isn’t, what is true and what isn’t. So that what isn’t true will be in no way attractive to you any longer, and so that you may be in a new way.
You may think that learning to listen to the Holy Spirit is a learning device or a temporary means of growing and moving across some important threshold of spiritual growth, which eventually you won’t need to do because you will have gotten over the threshold. You may also look at it as just a different activity. Um-m, you know, you could be interested in pursuing aeronautics, or you could be interested in pursuing space travel, or you could be interested in pursuing spiritual growth. And you could think that that’s all this is. And you happen to be interested in spiritual growth.
But it is more than this. It is the difference between being asleep and waking up. It’s a difference between existing in a state of unreality, of confusion, and being fully Awake; fully Alert, Clear; experiencing the flawlessness and perfection of Creation without alteration of any kind—in which, perhaps, aeronautics and traveling through the universe will be engaged in, because you can do it, because you’re Awake.
I encourage you to read what we’ve covered tonight during this coming week. I encourage you not to be reluctant to look squarely at the degree to which you value being an unhappy learner. And you will know the degree to which you’re willing to be an unhappy learner by the amount of time during each day that monologues are going on in your mind, where the Holy Spirit or your Guide have not been invited into the consideration of whatever you would think about all by yourself, so that clarity from a larger perspective can be brought into play. And needless suffering, caused by ignorance on your part, can be avoided—can be released. And healing can be had.
Waking up isn’t a matter of having new things to think about, it’s a matter of Being in a New Way! And that’s what this is all about.
And I look forward to being with you next week.
T13.6 The Happy Learner ↩
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